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A Handbook of the English Language by Latham

Therefore that vissa is euphonic for vista


_Would_,

_should_, _could_.--It must not be imagined that _could_ is in the same predicament with these words. In _will_ and _shall_ the -l is part of the original word. This is not the case with _can_. For the form _could_, see s. 331.

s. 315. _Aught_.--In Anglo-Saxon _['a]hte_, the praeterite of the present form _['a]h_, plural _['a]gon_.--As late as the time of Elizabeth we find _owe_ used for _own_. The present form _own_ seems to have arisen from the plural _['a]gon_. _Aught_ is the praeterite of the Anglo-Saxon _['a]h_; _owed_ of the English _owe_ = _debeo_; _owned_ of the English _own_ = _possideo_. The word _own_, in the expression _to own to a thing_, has a totally different origin. It comes from the Anglo-Saxon _an_ (plural, _unnon_) = _I give_, or _grant_ = _concedo_.

s. 316. _Durst_.--The verb _dare_ is both transitive and intransitive. We can say either _I dare do such a thing_, or _I dare (challenge) such a man to do it_. This, in the present tense, is unequivocally correct. In the past the double power of the word _dare_ is ambiguous; still it is, to my mind at least, allowable. We can certainly say _I dared him to accept my challenge_; and we can, perhaps, say _I dared venture on the expedition_. In this last sentence, however, _durst_ is the preferable expression.

Now, although _dare_ is both transitive and intransitive, _durst_ is only intransitive. It never agrees

with the Latin word _provoco_; only with the Latin word _audeo_. Moreover, the word _durst_ has both a present and a past sense. The difficulty which it presents consists in the presence of the -st, letters characteristic of the second person singular, but here found in all the persons alike; as _I durst_, _they durst_, &c.

This has still to be satisfactorily accounted for.

_Must_.--A form common to all persons, numbers, and tenses. That neither the -s nor the -t are part of the original root, is indicated by the Scandinavian form _maae_ (Danish), pronounced _moh_; praeterite _maatt_.

This form has still to be satisfactorily accounted for.

_Wist_.--In its present form a regular praeterite from _wiss_ = _know_. The difficulties of this word arise from the parallel forms _wit_ (as in _to wit_), and _wot_ = _knew_. The following are the forms of this peculiar word:--

In Moeso-Gothic, 1 sing. pres. ind. _v['a]it_; 2. do., _v['a]ist_; 1 pl. _vitum_; praeterite 1 s. _vissa_; 2 _viss[^e]ss_; 1 pl. _viss[^e]dum_. From the form _v['a]ist_ we see that the second singular is formed after the manner of _must_; that is, _v['a]ist_ stands instead of _v['a]it-t_. From the form _viss[^e]dum_ we see that the praeterite is not strong, but weak; therefore that _vissa_ is euphonic for _vista_.


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